Donald Trump's white supremacy blinds him to the debt America owes Haiti - Macleans.ca
  29

Donald Trump’s white supremacy blinds him to the debt America owes Haiti

Domise: It is no longer possible for anyone to defend Trump without defending both racism and the mechanisms by which it perpetuates itself


 

(Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

In October of 1801, newly-elected U.S. President Thomas Jefferson was faced with a diplomatic conundrum. The former slaves of St. Domingue (later known as Haiti) had overthrown the French, and written a constitution declaring slavery forever abolished. Though Jefferson initially supported the Leclerc expedition to reconquer St. Domingue, he was quickly forced to reconsider. If 20,000 French soldiers managed to regain control of France’s colonial crown jewel, what would stop them from continuing westward to re-assert control of the Louisiana territory?

In one of history’s many twists of irony, an eventual victory for Haitian slaves removed the incentive for France to continue its colonial ambitions in the New World. It then sold the Louisiana Territory to the United States for fifty million francs, and canceled eighteen million francs worth of U.S. debt (the sum of which, in 2016 dollars would be roughly $250 million USD). In other words a slave rebellion enabled the United States, then a slaveholding country, to make its largest ever land purchase of the Louisiana Territory for a pittance. Henry Adams, an historian and great-grandson of President John Adams (who opposed the Louisiana Purchase) made sure to note this in his expansive historical volumes:

“[The] prejudice of race alone blinded the American people to the debt they owed to the desperate courage of five hundred thousand Haytian (sic) negroes who would not be enslaved.”

It occurs that America’s prejudices continue to produce a blindness that has engulfed its President and his supporters. I’ve mentioned previously that delusion is a necessary component of white supremacy, and its cousin amnesia often afflicts those who attempt to launder it. It is a convenient affliction, rendering some people’s histories are worth remembering, and turning other people’s histories into a palimpsest, over which the tidy and convenient narrative of the present day can be written.

In a meeting with Congressional representatives on Thursday, while negotiating details of a bipartisan immigration deal, President Donald Trump allegedly referred to the entire nation with a scatalogical term. According to accounts described in the Washington Post, representatives were negotiating the matter of protections for immigrants from El Salvador and Haiti, both of which were struck by massive earthquakes (El Salvador in 2001, Haiti in 2011) that resulted in waves of relief-seekers entering the United States. Trump suggested a focus on immigration from countries like Norway, and later added “Why do we need more Haitians? Take them out.”

MORE: ‘Shithole countries’: Trump uses the rhetoric of dictators

The course of apologetics in politics, where surrogates scramble to explain mere gaffes as misunderstandings, and policy blunders as ideas that began with the best of intentions, apply when politicians are at least operating in good faith. Joe Biden for example, who developed a reputation in Washington as the “human gaffe machine,” was known to curse in the presence of live microphones, and once described LaGuardia airport as a place that belonged in a third-world country. But Joe Biden, at the very least, cannot be said to believe Mexicans are “rapists,” or that Black neighbourhoods are rife with violence, death, and a lack of education and jobs, or that Muslim communities provide safe harbour to terrorists. Explaining Joe Biden’s gaffes does not require explaining white supremacy in pleasant terms.

The apologetics that apply to Donald Trump, on the other hand, are not political. They are so wholly tied to his character, one which has shown him time and time again to be a white supremacist in every sense of the phrase, that it is impossible to defend him without defending both racism and the mechanisms by which it perpetuates itself. The National Review’s Rich Lowry, for example, asks The Nation’s Joan Walsh “Where would you rather live, Haiti, or Norway?” and, while pressing for an answer on Haiti’s value as a country, has neither the knowledge nor the good sense to be embarrassed at the question.

WATCH:  What Canada and America owe Haiti

Tucker Carlson, defending both Trump and Lowry, goes on to describe countries like Haiti as “dangerous,” “dirty,” “corrupt” and “poor,” with not a thought spared for America’s history with the country, so deeply intertwined with the island, that the union of the thirteen colonies might never have become more than a littoral ribbon surrounded by colonial empires had Haiti not thrown off the shackles of the French.

The prejudice of race has so blinded American thought, that educated political analysts are currently trapped in an immigration discourse not based on the skills of applicants, or the circumstance under which they wish to immigrate, but their country of origin and whether the people living in those countries can be deemed desirable. This is the distilled essence of white nationalism—that the character and makeup of a people are defined by their national origin, and that their present circumstances owe nothing to history, but simple benefits or flaws of their racial lineage.

To the mind of the white nationalist, multiculturalism is a failed experiment deviating from a simple truth: there are good countries like Norway, and there are s–thole countries like Haiti. Draw your own conclusions as to why that may be. And even though America owes far more to Haiti than Norway for its present state as global superpower, and in fact its very existence, the President of the United States can, in the company of the people who write America’s laws, characterize its inhabitants as human waste.

This is no longer a matter of “locker room talk,” or “political incorrectness.” With this comment, confirmed by several Congressional representatives who were in the room to hear it, Trump has transformed the discourse of American foreign policy to a very clear line. To stand with him or defend his comments is not a matter of debating immigration policy. To defend Trump is, quite simply, to stand with the depravity and selective amnesia of white nationalism.

MORE ABOUT DONALD TRUMP:

 


 

Donald Trump’s white supremacy blinds him to the debt America owes Haiti

  1. Who goes to Haiti? Missionaries and aid workers.

    Who goes to the Dominican Republic? Tourists and business.

    It’s the same island separated by a border.

    Ones doing ok, the other is a shithole.

    That’s calling a spade a spade. Grow a pair.

    • And ask the Haitians why they hate the Clintons So Much….

    • Agree. And there is NOTHING racist in calling a “shit hole” what it is. He’s not talking about the inhabitants, he’s talking about the poor quality of the country. As noted, he said nothing about the Dominican Republic, Barbados or any other Caribbean Country. The people who live in those countries find them a good place to live.

      • Well, actually he was talking about the inhabitants: he even went one further which was to suggest that the US should send Americans of Haitian or African heritage back to those places (he seemed to think Africa is a country). It is clearly a mistake to conflate people with the economic and political environment of the country they were born in; Americans must currently be suffering from the impression that Trump epitomizes the character of all Americans. Sadly neither the US or Canada have freed themselves from the colonist thinking that is the result of being an evolution of British colonialism which is intrinsically racist, elitist and imperialist. You should seriously reconsider the notion that affluence, or for that matter being part of a WASP culture, makes you a superior human being.

        • We threw the Haitians who were in Canada on temporary permits out 4 years after the earthquake. The U.S. gave them another 4 years and are now sending them home.
          This has nothing to do with feeling superior and everything to do with having those who wish to come to America apply legally and get in line. To let those who came in illegally or on temporary permits jump to the front of the line is ridiculous.

    • Rob- Nice to see we’re on the same page on this. Very well put.
      Midway through the article, the author manages to get three things dead wrong in one sentence, which is probably some kind of record. First off, Trump didn’t say all Mexicans were rapists, not did he even say Mexicans we’re rapists. He did say that an inordinate number of illegal immigrants from Mexico were criminals, and that the Mexican government was possibly encouraging the exodus of criminals.
      As for black neighborhoods being rife with crime, totally true, and it has become worse in the aftermath of Black Lives Matter riots that demanded less, not more, police presence. Several American cities have posted dramatic increases in black-on-black shootings since the riots and protests pushed back against policing.
      You have to be a special kind of stupid to fail to grasp that Muslim communities are not becoming havens for anti-Western thought and behavior. For every Immam that gets caught on tape calling for the extermination of the Jews, there are many, many more that are saying the same things, that aren’t getting caught.
      As for Haiti, you cannot blame decades of insanely corrupt government on anybody but the Haitians. The corruption endemic to Haiti has roots in the slave revolt, and has never gone away. Haiti was founded on sacking and looting, and it’s never really stopped.

      • We could all use a little more plain speaking and honesty.

        Do you think the government and elites of shithole countries explain in plain language why they live like kings while the people are in slums?

        No, I’m sure their golden (forked) tongues make it sound reasonable.

        I’ll never forget how a Dominican explained the animosity with Haitians. He said they were racist about the fact that Haitians were darker brown than Dominicans.

        Any resolution anywhere to anything requires plain honest discussion.

        People who censor plain discussion are part of the problem.

        • Well put. I’m always (sort of) surprised at the scale of the looting of the public treasuries that goes in some countries. Supposedly Mugabe has something north of a hundred million stashed in foreign banks. The Mubarak clan in Egypt absconded some $400 million. Arafat took enough that his wife can live in perpetuity on some $10 million per year. In Paris. Castro died with several hundred million safely held outside of Cuba. Ironically, away from the Cuban tax authorities, maybe?
          What I find somewhat amusing is that these guys start stealing, and they never quit. They never look at the bank balance and decide to get out of Dodge and find some place with unlimited Margaritas and an endless buffet. It’s as though they simply have no concept of money beyond the act of stealing it. It’s a bizarre concept, really. If you can overlook the tragedy of it all, it’s almost amusing.

  2. We will defeat racist Nazis that have come to infect our countries. We will root them out like we did in the great war. We will try them. hang them from the lampposts and hold them up as examples of evil for every child alive. We massed before and when the sleepers woke up to the abomination of evil we stormed the beaches and gave blood and treasure to wipe the evil from the world. Once again we are called to defeat the scum of the earth. We are coming for you………

    • You win, you’re the first to invoke Godwin’s law, you win the internet. Do you realize how childish you sound? Let alone how clueless you are on the US constitution, with its governance system that ensures checks and balances.

      • Seems to me that Trump himself wins the contest. Presenting the Nordic race as more desirable than those of African descent is definitely a page from nazi textbooks.. Are you clueless about naziism?

        • If you are truly ambivalent about living in an uncivilized third world shithole nation, emigrate…please.

          But your hypocrisy is exposed now isn’t it? Haiti or Norway, where would you choose to go and why?

          Are you a Nazi?

          • I would choose neither Norway or Haïti. Emigrating from Canada is not something I ever considered doing.

            But emigrating is not the question here. This has to do with immigration. I no more rubber stamp a blond, blue-eyed Norwegian without checking their background, than hastiky refusing entry to a black Haïtian. There are criminals in Norway, and there are capable honest people in Haïti. Being from Norway is not a quality in of itself.

          • That’s a bullshithole refusal to answer.

        • Lorraine as i told Brian, you have no clue on the constitution or US governance. Only a liberal hysteric would site Nazism,#sad.

        • And where does that school of thought originate?

          Darwin’s The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life.

    • You’re like a corrupted b movie computer that has rebooted to its original operating system, but your operating system is nazi propaganda brainwashing.

      The code appears to be that no behaviour is too vile or extreme to eliminate the “Nazi”. You don’t have to agree, you demonstrate it.

      Does the fact that the science and history of the narrative is censored under threat of imprisonment and persecution, make it more or less credible? Does that compute?

      Here’s something that will probably appeal to you.

      https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazis_at_the_Center_of_the_Earth

  3. Why is Haiti in a mess? Because Hillary’s State Department and the Clinton Foundation, which were leading the relief effort, botched the recovery, and their are accusations from many Haitians that the Friends of Bill (with assistance of the Clinton Foundation) looted the majority of the relief funds to the tune of billions of dollars.

    The media never talk nor investigate this. The Obama Justice Department certainly never investigated this.

  4. I recommend that everyone read the book called ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ by Jared Diamond. It describes the fates of human societies.  An enlightening and thought provoking read.

    • I think you mean “Collapse” by Jared Diamond. (although Guns, Germs, and Steel is, as you say, also enlightening and thought provoking).

    • What “most people” do you refer to? Most white people? As a white person I disagree and so do most of the people I know… So it must be most older white middle class… no probably not them either. Most good logical thinking people would agree that the President of the United States referring to any country as a s–hole is wrong and inappropriate. So as a member of the regressive right it is clear that you would like things as they were in the 1950’s racial minorities did the menial work, Africa was a colony to be enslaved and white people were comfortable in their privileged lives.

      • While his choice of words may have been very harsh, they truly do describe the countries he noted. Re Maureen’s point, if you asked anyone who can fog up a mirror if they want to visit or live in Haiti or Somalia, I think you know what the overwhelming response would be.

  5. If Trump wants more immigration from Europe, he must have Putin help
    the EU fail and start some European wars.  As it stands Eastern Europeans
    can freely goto Germany and (England, before Brexit) for better paying jobs.
    If the EU falls apart you will at least see more Eastern Europeans coming
    to the USA, which will please Trump since they’re white.

    • Trump’s immigration policy is to shift the balance from mostly family based immigration to a more balanced family vs. merit-based immigration system, like Canada and Australia have.

      Most of the world is non-white, so one gets mostly now-white immigration regardless of what system one has, family based or merit based.

  6. I guess Don Jr. will not be warmly welcomed in Africa when he makes another
    big game hunting trip there.   Another contribution to the swear jar by Daddy.

    • Wrong. People in shithole countries don’t care where the money comes from. Even first world countries.

      Funny, I don’t think either hunting or using a swear jar is offensive, as you obviously do.

    • You must have been really angered at Obama’s tribute to Nelson Mandela? Obama’s tweet of Mandela became his largest viral tweet to date.

      Afterall. Mandela was quite famous for his big game hunts.

      Liberal hypocrisy at it’s finest.

  7. So using the logic of how an event 250 years ago still leaves America in debt, can we say that Europe owes a debt to America for defeating Nazi Germany? Can we say African American’s owe a debt to the white citizens of the Northern US states for defeating the Confederate States of America? Can we say China owes a debt to the US for defeating the Empire of Japan in WWII?

Sign in to comment.